Historically the Key West International Sand Art Competition was held at the Casa Marina Resort in Key West, Florida.

Artists descended on Key West from around the world. Sand sculptors came from Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands and from around the United States.

The competition hosted some of the best sand sculptors from around the world. The event was held on the Atlantic Ocean Beach, a private beach owned by the Waldorf Astoria.

The Atlantic Ocean Beach is a large, sandy private beach. It was open to the public during the event.

The event was historically held over Thanksgiving Weekend, November 25-29.

Holiday themed sands sculptures were common, as well as nautical and marine themes.

Other sculpture exhibits were incredibly diverse, ranging from human figures to wildlife and many expressions of creative imagination.

A sand sculpture

The competition’s timing coincided with some of the best fall weather in the Florida Keys, and the high season for Key West.

In some years more than 12,000-16,000 spectators viewed the competition.

Sand Sculpting Competition

Sand sculptors were given 15,000 pounds of sand to create their sculpture.

Sculptors were given 30 hours to complete their sand sculptures. Electric tools, glue or other implements were not allowed.

Artists were only allowed to use hand tools, sand and water.

Competition Awards and Prizes

At the end of the competition visitors voted to choose the crowd’s favorite sculpture.

A panel of judges would also choose a sculpture which they feel best captured the essence of Key West, and sculptors choose their own favorite sand art.

Winners of the competition were honored with Key West’s’ “Conch Republic Award”.

The sand art competition culminated with a “Beach Bash” following the awards ceremony.

Visitor Experience

The International Sand Art Competition was filled with sun, sand and creativity. The event featured live music, excellent food and cocktails.

Visitors were allowed to see the finished sculptures at their leisure from day until evening; the sculptures were illuminated for viewing them after sunset.

Visitors are also encouraged to try building their own sand sculptures with a sand plot which is dedicated to public use.

Guests staying at the Casa Marina could watch the sculptors work from the hotel balcony.